I’ll let you in on a little secret.
You can’t always a be a “yes girl.”
Believe me, I’ve tried.
I have a pretty obsessive personality; when I find something I love, I put 150% into it, and want to do whatever I can to help it succeed. For me, it’s led to so much burnout, even in the day-to-day.
One of my close friends recently shared the quote that keeps him in check: “a little bit a lot.”
I work in a super fast-paced field, which typically results in a lot of tasks at one time. I find comfort in knowing each and every day is different, which taught me a thing or two about task/time management.
But I also find myself taking on so much more than I can handle, in multiple areas of my life.
I find that working out is the perfect metaphor to dealing with this whole “biting off more than you can chew” situation.
So, you’re getting back into running after a few months off. You used to run 3-5 miles every other day, and cross train on off days. Thinking you can handle running that again, you push yourself to complete the same mileage that you did before for one week. You feel great about your mileage, but the next week, you basically feel like you were hit by a bus. Your shin splints are killing you, and you can hardly walk.
Congrats, you’re drained, discouraged and now injured.
Why would you do this to your brain if you wouldn’t do it to your body?
A little bit a lot. Everything in moderation. A little bit every day to build back up to it, or you’ll just set yourself back.
The same goes for work.
I love my job, but have a problem with saying yes to everything, because I want to be able to help in as many areas as possible. The key? A little bit a lot. Get as much done in moderation as you can, but put your all into those small doses.
If you legitimately can’t take on a huge project, don’t. To stay fresh, and maintain an agile mindset, you need to focus on being the best at what you are doing, not the best at getting everything accomplished.
And that starts outside of the workplace. You need a solid mind/body before you can even consider developing a healthy work/life balance.
I asked my friends what helps them overcome burnout, and here are some of my favorite tips:
- “a little bit a lot” – repeat it to yourself, now one more time. it’s better to do everything well, and in small doses. you can’t run a marathon with one week of training after a lifetime of couch potato-ing.
- focus on your health, first and foremost – ask anyone. people who work in high-stress environments typically rely on their workout routines to keep their minds and bodies active. I’ve found that my productivity suffers if I don’t work out in the morning. It’s like missing that first cup of coffee.
- turn to Something much larger than yourself – at the end of the day, everybody needs something or Someone to believe in. Find your favorite Bible verses, and write them in the margin of your planner. Memorize them. My personal favorites right now are Philippinans 4:6-7 and Psalms 46:5.
- utilize your calendars, sticky notes and to-do lists – writing everything down might help you realize that you can’t build Rome in a day. schedule your tasks. I love how my Day Designer has an hourly planner next to my to do lists. If it looks like too much, it probably is. You shouldn’t start panicking while looking at your daily tasks.
- take a deep breath – ’nuff said. try a meditation app, like Headspace.
- happiness starts with healthy eating – okay, I understand that you love coming home to fries and wine after a rough day. but studies have shown (look at Whole30’s research) that clean eating leads to decreased brain fog and overall mental clarity. Think about it.
What’s your best tip or trick to avoid burnout?